If you’re planning a trip abroad and you’re looking for a truly stunning location, you can’t go wrong with Iceland. Known for its stunning vistas and wildlife, Iceland has something for everyone, particularly outdoorsmen and nature enthusiasts.
If you’re on the fence about planning a trip to Iceland, don’t let the name of the country dissuade you. Iceland isn’t actually as cold as its neighbor, Greenland, and it’s full of destinations that make the trip well worth your time.
Here are five of the most enchanting reasons to visit Iceland this year.
Gain a different perspective of the sky
When you first arrive in Iceland, you’ll be amazed at how clear the skies are. Especially if you’re traveling from a major city, the world looks different under an Icelandic sky. In fact, this new perspective is one of the main reasons why many tourists head so far north.
Both the midnight sun and northern lights are worth trying to see during your trip. Plan your trip from May to July and see the sun as it’s up for almost 24 full hours, while the northern lights are best seen in September through March when it’s darkest.
Experience stunning wildlife
Iceland is also home to a robust variety of wildlife, with plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse at animals in their natural habitat. Iceland’s whale tours are perhaps the most famous, offering visitors the opportunity to catch a glimpse of whales from a guided boat tour.
If you’re visiting in the summer months, you’ll also have the chance to see puffins when whale watching. You may also stumble upon arctic foxes and reindeer while hiking the various regions of Iceland, so it’s always a good idea to keep a sharp eye out for any movement off the trail.
Explore incredible natural wonders
Speaking of hiking, you’ll want to explore the incredible natural wonders throughout Iceland. One popular destination for tourists is Katla ice cave, which is a collection of several ice caves with beautiful, icy views.
Great for photo ops, the Katla ice caves have year round tours depending on weather conditions. Another great place to hike is Þingvellir National Park. It’s known for its rift valleys and canyons, all of which make excellent locations to spend a day exploring.
Relax in serene natural settings
After all that hiking, you’ll likely need a place to unwind. Iceland has a lot of options for that too, with its geothermal baths topping the list of spa-like destinations to relax in after a long day on the trails. Whether you’re looking for a naturally occurring hot spring or just a hot tub and more traditional spa, Iceland has you covered.
Taste traditional Icelandic cuisine
You’re likely to work up an appetite when exploring Iceland’s bountiful natural wonders too, and the food is another perk of visiting Iceland. Fresh ingredients abound throughout the country’s restaurants, and there are plenty of traditional dishes to try for more adventurous eaters.
Some dishes you’ll definitely want to taste on a trip to Iceland include a fish stew called Plokkfiskur, and if you’re a fan of seafood, you’ll likely be interested in other Icelandic dishes featuring local catches. If you drink, you’ve got to sample some svartidauði, an Icelandic liquor flavored with caraway and similar to Akvavit.
Foodies, nature enthusiasts, and hikers will all find something to love on a trip to Iceland. With a bounty of natural wonders, you can easily fill a weeklong or two week trip with hiking, tours, and unique dining experiences.
Interested in traveling around Iceland on a budget? Consider getting a campervan rental and going the DIY route, including cooking meals, washing clothes, and driving. A campervan road trip can also make your time in Iceland more immersive, personalized, and engaging, especially if you’ll be involved in the day-to-day planning.